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Published September 16, 2013, 10:41 AM

North Dakota Observes Child Passenger Safety Week

BISMARCK, N.D. – In observance of National Child Passenger Safety Week September 15 through 21, 2013, The North Dakota Department of Health is kicking off the “You Must Be This Tall To Ride” campaign to promote the correct use of booster seats and seat belts for older children. The NDDoH is providing brochures and stand-up banners to physician’s offices statewide to help spread best practice messages to parents and caregivers.

BISMARCK, N.D. – In observance of National Child Passenger Safety Week September 15 through 21, 2013, The North Dakota Department of Health is kicking off the “You Must Be This Tall To Ride” campaign to promote the correct use of booster seats and seat belts for older children. The NDDoH is providing brochures and stand-up banners to physician’s offices statewide to help spread best practice messages to parents and caregivers.

The campaign’s carnival-like message is similar to what you would see before entering a carnival ride, with many requiring a child to be a certain height for safety. The message is the same for the campaign – only it pertains to riding in a seat belt. The NDDoH recommends children ride in booster seats until they are approximately 4’9” inches tall or until the seat belt fits them correctly. Children arrive at this height at the stunning age of 8 to 12 years! Children shorter than this height who ride in a seat belt may be at risk.

Many children who prematurely ride in a seat belt before this height are at risk of seat belt syndrome. Seat belt syndrome happens when a crash occurs and a person receives injuries to the internal organs or spinal cord as a result of an improperly positioned lap and shoulder seat belt. Lap and shoulder belts are designed to fit over the strong boney parts of a body, low on the hips and across the shoulder.

The “You Must Be This Tall To Ride” campaign gives the following advice for caregivers and children – Children should ride in booster seats until they pass the following five-step test:

Sit your child in the back seat and put on the seat belt.

· Can your child sit with a straight back against the vehicle seat back?

· In that position, do the legs bend comfortably at the edge of the vehicle seat?

· Does the lap belt stay low, touching the thighs (not the belly)?

· Does the shoulder belt cross the center of the child’s shoulder?

· Can your child sit this way without slouching during the whole ride?

If you answered no to any of these questions, your child would be safer riding in a booster seat with a lap and shoulder seat belt. Note: All vehicles are not the same – do this test for any vehicle your child rides in.

Campaign stand-up banners and brochures will be introduced throughout North Dakota starting this week. This campaign was made possible from donated funds from AAA and the North Dakota Department of Transportation.

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